<After last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, we knew that the Governor was back. And after this week’s, you’ll also know how he got back. (Spoiler alert: It ain’t pretty.) Who’s turned into the “Live Bait” that the title promises? And just how grody is it when it happens? Read on.
PUTTING THE ‘LOW’ IN ‘LOWLIFE’ | The hour begins, as far as I can tell, with a flashback to shortly after the Governor and his flunkies, Martinez and Schumpert, have been driven out of Woodbury. Ol’ One-Eye is already deep in meltdown mode — so much so that he wakes up one morning to discover that he’s been deserted by his minions. But by the time he’s torched the town that he tried to turn into a demented Norman Rockwell painting and stumbled across a vulnerable family holed up in their apartment, he’s so bummed out that he’s displaying less personality (and interest in grooming) than even a walker!
FRESH ‘MEET’ | The family of survivors is comprised of a cancer-stricken dad; daughter Tara, a lesbian cop; daughter Lily, a nurse; and Lily’s daughter, Megan, who at first mistakes the Governor for the father who abandoned her. As will happen in apocalyptic times, the welcome that the newcomer receives isn’t a warm one. “I have enough artillery in here,” Tara warns, “to kill you every day for the next 10 years.” Not that it matters to the Governor — by then, he’s practically feral. Plus, he’s so determined to never again get attached to (or lose) anyone that he throws out the SpaghettiOs that Lily offers him. (Clearly, he thinks he’s to blame for the deaths of his wife and daughter — he can’t even look at himself in the picture of the three of ’em that he still carries.)
FAMILY GUY | Despite his best efforts to keep his (emotional) distance, the Governor still begins to get attached. How could he — or anyone — not? First, he carries Dad to bed and grants his request that he fetch the backgammon game from his neighbor’s apartment — a yucksome affair, given that the neighbor is a double amputee who’s undead and rotting in his tub! Then, he grants Lily’s request that he run down to the old folks’ home to fetch Dad an oxygen tank — yet another yucksome affair (think The Moldin’ Girls). But the real tipping point (one of them, anyway) comes after Lily tends to his wounds — and gladly, since a) she seems kinda into him, and b) “Nobody ever mentioned just how boring the end of the world was gonna be.” Left alone with Megan, the Governor is bewildered by her offer of a pinky swear — “What’s that?” — never to reveal how he lost his eye. “I’m a pirate,” he says before explaining that it actually happened when he was trying to protect someone. Later, she sweetly gives the king in their chess game a makeover so that, like her new friend, he has a patch.
STARTING OVER | When Dad finally does die, the girls — who’ve only just been taught by the Governor that walkers don’t stop getting up unless you shoot/stab/demolish their heads — refuse to leave his side until it’s too late and he’s turned. So the erstwhile Philip Blake has to leap into action and bash in the dearly departed’s brains with an oxygen tank. Afterward, Megan is too freaked out to go near her would-be father figure. But Lily knows a good thing when she sees it. (Ha — so she thinks!) “I know we’re not [the family you lost],” she tells her hero, bringing us to tipping point No. 2, “but for now, you’re stuck with us.” (Get it now? Lily and her family are the “live bait” — luring the Governor out of his stupor and back into life! Clever, misleading title!) Everyone’s immediate future decided, when the Governor sets off, the girls go with him. Tara confesses that she isn’t really a cop (though she was in the police academy). Lily gets busy with the Governor the first chance she gets. (Thank God he shaved!) And Megan gets over her Governorphobia when, fleeing from a mass of walkers, they fall into an open grave, and he savagely neutralizes the threat to protect her. “I’m never gonna let anything happen to you,” he vows. “Promise.” And, right on cue, someone peeks into the hole: Well, hello, Martinez!
Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Do you empathize with the Governor after seeing him in this light? Can you ever really empathize with him after the things he’s done? Why did he call himself Brian Herriott? (Is there some significance to that name that I’m not aware of?) Were you annoyed that we still didn’t get to find out how Daryl reacts to Carol’s banishment? Hit the comments.